Turns Out, 85% of the World Likes “Contact Me”. Even Though You Don’t

By JASON LEMKIN

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I know you are probably like me.  You go to a web service.  What do you do?  Free trial.  Sign Up Now.  The very, very last thing I am going to click is “Contact Me.”  The last thing I want, as a web-centric small customer/user, is some sales rep selling me on some product I just want to try for 20 minutes and see if it works for me.

You and I are like that.  But it turns out, 85% of the world isn’t.  At least as measured by revenue, by dollars spent (not # of customers).

And the “problem” with this is that so many SaaS entrepreneurs, especially those coming into sales and SaaS for the first time, and/or with a bias toward freemium-type products … design for the 15%.  The folks like us.

There is nothing wrong with this.  It makes sense.  And it’s often the fastest and easiest way to get to Initial Traction, your first $1.5m in revenue.  To solve a problem you know for people you know want it solved, in a way you think it should be solved.

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The problem is when you try to extrapolate after that, after $1.5m in ARR or so.  The scenario I often see is this .. great entrepreneur gets to $1.5m by hook or crook.  But then … gets nervous.  Isn’t sure this will really continue all the way to $10m+ ARR.  Worries the market is getting sort of tapped out.

And usually, the founder is right.  If you continue to sell to the 15% of the world that is like you, you may decelerate on the way to $10m+ ARR.  And you may never get even close to $100m ARR.

So here’s my only real insight:  learn as early as you can what the 85% of the world wants to do with your product.  And make sure you sell to them the way they want to buy.

They usually want to buy with a Contact Me.  A Web Demo.  They want to sit back at their Dell desktop, and get a demo in their grey felt cube.

You may not like sales people.  But 85% of the world does (as measured by revenue, not # of customers).  Because they provide the 85% of the world a very valuable service.  They help them decide what solutions to bring into the enterprise.  Price is just a small piece of that, and it comes out of their budget — not out of their pocket.

And they don’t buy or try 100 new web tools a year.  They bring 1-2 pieces of innovation into the enterprise.  Or solve 1-2 problems a year with software.  Max.

So they want a demo where you show them how you solve their problem.  How you provide a real solution.  That’s their internal win.

Not, 9 times out of 10, do they want to buy by playing with your web service and figuring it out on their own.

So:

  • If you don’t have a Contact Me, if you don’t do enough Demos, do them now.
  • If you don’t understand why your largest paying customer would pay 2x more than they do today, talk to them.  Figure it out.
  • And whatever you do, at least once you pass Initial Traction — don’t assume your customers areanything like you anymore.

Most aren’t.

And once you figure out who those 85% are — your market can grow at least 6-7x.  Maybe, much more.

It’s just simple math.